Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jeff Spotting - Aqaba, Jordan (Again)

Six months have come and gone, and we're still deployed...

Trip number two to Aqaba, this time to wash down all the Marine Corps vehicles we have aboard the ship to prevent foreign contaminants from reaching US soil. This means that we are that much closer to returning home. I spent the days overseeing the unloading and loading of vehicles and then got out at night to a local resort, which is one of three places we were allowed to go; fortunately it is pleasant enough to while away an evening.

I had my first encounter with a Lionfish the other day. It wasn't up close and personal, thankfully, since I've had enough painful encounters with sea creatures (recalling an unpleasant footfall on a sea urchin back in 2006 on the big island Hawaii).


Friday, December 02, 2011

Jeff Spotting - Manama, Bahrain and Jebal Ali, UAE

More port time! USS WHIDBEY ISLAND pulled into Manama, Bahrain, after some 65 days at sea. The intent of our stop was primarily to conduct ship maintenance, because after eight months at sea the engines need some down time. The crew needed some rest and relaxation, and was granted evenings to go out on liberty to the Naval Support Activity, local malls and restaurants. We stayed for about a week, which provided a few opportunities to get out and stretch my legs. The picture on the left is a shot overlooking several ships anchored with a traditional flat areas in the background. If you check the link above, you'll notice that there are several very tall buildings in the downtown area, so this shot is probably uncharacteristic of the city.
After a couple of well appreciated trips to the Navy Exchange, we left Bahrain and headed almost straightaway to Jebel Ali, which is a short trip from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Our trip was brief, though, and after ship duty on the day we arrived, which left me exhausted, I had one day to enjoy the city. I spent most of it sleeping... but did get out for a bite to eat and ended up purchasing a nice Turkish-made lamp (no genies, though). This is a panoramic of what I missed by sleeping the day away: